13th May Saturday
The charter granted to his burgesses by the lord of the manor of Manchester is a document of such importance that it seems desirable to state its provisions in full, since it is the instrument which decided the method of municipal government for many centuries. The following translation is that adopted by Mr. Harland. The charter has been elaborately annotated by that writer in his Mamcestre, and by Dr. Hibbert Ware in his Foundations of Manchester.
"Know [all] present and to
come that I, Thomas Grelle, have given and granted, and by this my
present charter have confirmed, to all my burgesses of Mamecestre. To wit:
"(1) That all the
burgesses shall pay for every one of their burgages twelve pence by the year for
[or in lieu of] all service.
"(2) And if the reeve of
the town [prefectus ville] shall challenge [or make claims against] any burgess
of any plea, and the challenged shall not come on the day, nor any one for him,
into the Lagh - mote, he is in forfeiture twelve pence to the said lord. And the
said lord shall have his plea [or action] against him in the Porteman - mote.
"(3) Also, if any burgess
shall implead any burgess of [or for] any debt, and be [the debtor] shall
acknowledge the debt, the reeve may appoint him a day,
to wit, the eighth; and if
he shall not come at the day he shall pay twelve pence for forfeiture of the day
to the aforesaid lord; and he shall pay the debt, and to the reeve eight pence.
"(4) And if any one maketh
complaint of anything, and shall not find surety and bondsmen, and afterwards is
willing to withdraw his complaint, he shall be without forfeiture.
"(5) Also, if any burgess
in the borough shall wound any burgess on the Lord's Day, or from noon on
Saturday until Monday, he shall be in forfeiture of twenty shillings. And if on
Monday, or on the other days of the week, he shall wound any one, he shall fall
into [or incur] the penalty of twelve pence towards the aforesaid lord.
"(6) Also, if any burgess
shall quarrel [or strive, certaverit]
with any one, and, through anger, shall strike him, without bloodshed, and shall
be able to return to his house without challenge of the reeve or his servants,
he shall be free from the plea from the reeve. And if he shall be able to
sustain [or justify] the assault against him on whom he committed it, he shall
do well. But if, nevertheless, by the counsel of his friends, he make peace with
him, this also [he may do] without forfeiture to the reeve.
"(7) Also, if any one shall be impleaded in the borough of any
plea, he need not make answer either to burgess or villein, save in his Porteman
- mote, nor even to a vavasour, except to a plea that belongeth to the King's
Crown, and in one for robbery [or theft,
"(8) Also, if any one
accuse another burgess of theft
[latrocinio] the reeve may attach him [the accused] to make answer in the
lord's court, and to abide [its] judgment.
"(9) Also, if any shall be
impleaded of his neighbour, or of any one, and shall be in suit [or in
attendance] three days, if he shall have testimony of the reeve and of his
neighbours of the Porteman - mote that his adversary hath defaulted [been
absent] on those three days, after that he shall give no answer to him upon that
"(10) Also, the aforesaid
burgesses shall follow [do suit at] the mill of the aforesaid lord and his oven
[or bake-house], paying to the aforesald mill and to the aforesaid oven the
customs as they ought and are wont to do.
"(11) Also, the burgesses
ought, and have power, to choose the reeve of themselves, whom they will, and to
remove the reeve.
"(12) Also, no one can put
his neighbour to his oath unless he have suit of some
[clamoren] [against him].
"(13) Also, no one can
receive [in purchase] anything within the town save by the view of the reeve.
"(14) Also, it shall be
lawful for any one to sell or give his land, which is not of inheritance, if he
shall fall into necessity, to whomsoever he will, unless his heir will buy it.
But the heir ought to be the nearest [or first] to have the buying of it
"(15) Also, every one can
sell [land] of his inheritance, whether more or less, or the whole, by consent
of his heir. And if, perchance, the heir be unwilling, nevertheless if he [the
burgess] shall fall into necessity, it shall be lawful for him to sell what is
of his inheritance, whatever age the heir may be.
"(16) Also, the reeve
ought to deliver [or give possession] to every burgess
and to the farmers [or
renters] their shops [or sheds] in the market place, and the reeve ought
therefor to receive one penny, to the use of the aforesaid lord.
"(17) If a burgess or a
farmer will stand in the shops [or sheds] of the merchants, he ought to agree
to pay [or, perhaps, pay beforehand,
pacare] to the aforesaid lord as
much as a stranger. And if he stand in his proper shop [or shed], then he is to
give nothing to the aforesaid lord.
"(18) Also, the burgesses
may fatten their swine which are nearly fattened in the woods of their lord,
except in the forests and parks of the aforesaid lord, until the term [or time]
of pannage. And if they will, at the aforesaid term, withdraw it shall be lawful
for them, without licence of the lord. And if they will make stay there for the
term of pannage, for the pannage they shall satisfy the aforesaid lord.
"(19) Also, if any one
shall be impleaded before the day of the Lagh - mote, and shall then come, it
behoveth him to answer, and he ought not to essoin [excuse) himself without
forfeiture. And if he shall then [on the Lagh - mote day] be first impleaded,
then he shall have the first day [i.e., in which to answer].
"(20) Also, the burgesses
may arrest [namare] men, whether knights, or priests, or clerks, for their debts, if
they shall be found in the borough.
"(21) Also, if necessity
fall that any one sell his burgage, he may receive [or rent] another burgage of
his neighbour. And every burgess may deliver
[i.e., let or give possession of] his
burgage to his neighbour, by the view of his co-burgesses.
"(22) Also, it may be
lawful for the aforesaid burgesses to deliver [convey or give possession of,
tradere] their own proper
chattels to whomsoever they will, within the fee of the aforesaid lord, freely,
without licence from the aforesaid lord.
"(23) Also, if a burgess
lend [commodaverit, i.e., lend things
to be returned in kind] anything to a man villein in the borough, and the term
[of the loan] thereof shall expire in the borough, he may take a distress upon
[the goods of] the villein, and by his distress may certify him.
And he may restore the distress [or goods distrained] by [or on the
security of] bondsmen, even to the end of eight days, and then the bondsmen may
return either the distress or the money.
"(24) Also, a burgess, of
whomsoever he shall buy or sell within the fee of the aforesaid lord, shall be
free from toll. And if any one of
another shire [or town] shall come who ought to pay customs, and shall depart
with the toll, withholding it from the reeve or from other of his [servants], he
shall be in forfeiture twelve pence to the use of the lord. And he shall pay his
"(25) And if any one shall
lend to another anything without witness, he [the borrower] need not make any
answer unless he [the lender] shall have witness [or evidence,
testimonium]. And if he
[the lender] shall have witness, he [the borrower] may deny it by the oaths of
"(26) Also, whoso breaketh
the assise; whether of bread or of ale, he shall be in forfeiture of twelve
pence to the use of the lord.
"(27) Also, if any one
shall wound another in the borough, the reeve ought to attach him, if he be
found outside his house, by surety and bondsmen.
"(28) Also, every one
ought to be, and may be, at plea [or impleaded] for
his wife and family; and
the wife of every one may pay his rent to the reeve, and follow a plea [or
attend a suit] for her husband, if he shall, perchance, be elsewhere.
(29) Also, if any villein
shall make claim of anything of burgesses, they (the burgesses] ought not to
make answer to him unless he shall have the suit of [or from] burgesses or other
lawful [or law-worthy] men.
"(30) Also, a burgess, if
he shall have no heir, may bequeath his burgage and his chattels when he dies
wheresoever he shall please, saving, however, the lord's service.
"(31) Also, if any burgess
die his wife ought to remain in the house, and there she may have necessaries as
long as she wills to be without a husband, and the heir with her. And when she will marry she shall depart.
And the heir shall remain there as the lord.
"(32) Also, if a burgess
die his heir shall give no other relief to the afore said lord save arms of some
[or whatsoever] kind.
"(33) If a burgess sell
his burgage and willeth to depart from the town, he shall give to the lord four
pence, and he may go freely whithersoever he will.
"(34) Moreover, all the
pleas aforesaid shall be determined before the steward by the enrolment of the
clerk of the aforesaid lord.
"(35) And all the
aforenamed liberties, I, the aforesald Thomas, and my heirs, will hold to the
aforesaid burgesses and their heirs for ever; saving to me and my heirs
reasonable tollage, when the lord the King shall make tollage upon his free
boroughs throughout England. And that this donation and grant may be ratified
and established, I have confirmed this writing by the affixing [thereto] my
seal. These being witnesses :-
"Sirs John Byron,Knight.
“Richard Byron, Knight.
“Henry de Trafford,
“Richard de Hulton,
“Adam de Prestwyche,
“Roger de Pilkington,
“Geoffrey de Chaderton,
“Richard de Moston,
“John de Prestwyche,
"Given at Mamecester the
fourteenth day of May, in the year of the Lord one thousand three hundred and
one; and in the year of the reign of King Edward, son of King Henry
[i.e., Edward I.] the twenty-ninth."